There are many misconceptions regarding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that are not only untrue, but these misconceptions can also be very hurtful and disheartening to those who have OCD. If you are someone who lives with, works with, or goes to school with individuals that are OCD, then it is incredibly important to do your best to learn and understand just how misleading some of these myths can be.
Like all forms of Neurodiversity, OCD has a lot of stigma around it. People with OCD are often left feeling frustrated, alienated, and like they have somehow failed. When in reality, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having OCD. Before we get into the myths surrounding OCD, let’s talk about what OCD is.
What Is OCD?
OCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. While OCD is classified as a disorder, at Theara, we argue that it is not a disorder but rather a neurological variation.
OCD is a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are repeated thoughts, mental images, or urges that can cause intense anxiety and distressing feelings. Compulsions are the repetitive actions or behaviors that a person feels the need to do to rid themselves of the distress/anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts. It is a vicious cycle that many people struggle with every day of their lives, which is why it is crucial for society to understand that OCD is not something to make light of.
Many people experience obsessions and compulsions in their lifetimes and without having the proper knowledge, they may confuse it for OCD. However, for OCD to be diagnosed, these obsessions and compulsions must be so extreme that they interfere with a person’s ability to focus on and maintain their day-to-day life.
OCD is a common form of Neurodiversity, and just like Autism, Dyslexia, or ADHD, we all must do our best to understand what is true and what is not true. In order to pave the path to a brighter future for those who are OCD, let’s talk about some of the myths surrounding OCD.
Myth 1: Everyone With OCD Is A Neat Freak
We have all heard someone use the term “OCD” casually while describing a certain cleaning or organizing habit they have. While these people do not have any ill intentions toward those living with the disorder, using it so flippantly to describe a personal quirk can cloud the severity of the symptoms people face every day.
Some people with OCD may indeed be incredibly neat and/or organized, but it does not mean that every individual with OCD is. Even if the person with OCD does have compulsions revolving around cleanliness, chances are they do not enjoy these obsessive cleaning rituals, but they feel as if they do not have any other choice than to complete them. OCD is not about wanting something to be done a certain way or in a certain pattern. Instead, it is a strong feeling towards compulsions that a person cannot rest until it is completed.
While it is true that some people may be very clean and organized due to their Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it can present itself in the opposite direction. For example, some people who live with OCD develop habits of hoarding due to the overwhelming feeling that something terrible or life-altering could happen as a result of throwing certain things in the garbage.
There is no one-size fits all approach to OCD and cleanliness.
Myth 2: It Is Easy To Spot A Person With OCD
When some people hear the term “OCD,” they immediately imagine a person acting very sporadic or doing incredibly obvious things to point out the fact that they have “something wrong with them.”
The reality is that many people who are OCD do their best to hide their compulsions in front of others or hide their OCD entirely. Hiding like this is known as masking. Going back to the stigmatism mentioned earlier, individuals with OCD tend to feel embarrassment or shame. In turn, they will try to stop themselves from acting on their compulsions for fear of being judged, ridiculed, or ostracized.
Compulsions can be incredibly challenging to deal with in the privacy of their own home. So, it is easy to imagine that hiding them while out in public can be even more difficult for a person with OCD to manage. There is a good chance that you already know at least one person who has OCD, and you are unaware of it because they keep their compulsions hidden around others.
In a perfect world, nobody would feel like they had to hide their Neurodiversity. That is why it is pivotal to learn and grow as a society and ensure that OCD individuals are not afraid to be seen as the beautiful divergent people that they are.
Myth 3: OCD Stems From A Troubled Childhood
Just like many other forms of Neurodiversity, it is no secret that one of the most common opinions about OCD is that it is caused by problems at home or a troubled childhood. This misconception can be incredibly harmful to individuals who have children or loved ones with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as it may lead to them believing that they are at fault and have somehow done something to let their loved one down.
The fact is that there is no known cause of OCD. Many individuals who have the disorder grew up in a very happy, healthy, and loving household.
Myth 4: OCD Cannot Be Treated
A common misconception about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is that it can not be treated. This myth causes many people who live with the disorder to not reach out for help, and they are not aware of the available resources and methods of treatment. There is no cure for OCD. That is true, but there are, however, multiple types of treatments offered to help make the symptoms of OCD more manageable and easier to live with.
OCD is not a one-size fits all disorder. Just like every individual is unique, so is their OCD as well.
When it comes to treatment, what works for one person may not work for the next. So, it is important to look into all of the available options and resources available for managing your or your loved ones’ OCD. The treatments available includ:
- Anxiety Medications
- Group Therapy/Support Groups
The type of treatment that works best for each person will depend on multiple things. The best thing to do is to start by seeing a professional and developing the proper treatment plan.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a part of each person has it, and it will never go away. By having access to proper resources and treatments, people can drastically alter their quality of life and allow them to live more happily and comfortably.
OCD is a type of Neurological variation known as Neurodiversity. It is something that many people struggle with every day. OCD is not something that makes a person any less normal than the rest of the world, and it is crucial for those who are OCD to know that there are resources to help them deal with the impact that it has on their daily lives. This is where Theara can help.
Theara and OCD
Theara was built to support all Neurodivergent people, including people with OCD. We have several life hacks, resources, and blogs to support people with OCD as they navigate their Neurodivergent life.
We also specifically crafted the Theara Academy for the Neuro-distinct journey.
The Theara Academy
Theara has created a community and resource hub for all Neurodivergent people, what Theara refers to as the Neurodiverse Collective. We built an innovative acronym-based digital training to ensure Neurodivergent people live fulfilling and rewarding lives where they reach their goals, maintain meaningful relationships, and embrace who they are.
Here at Theara, we have four unique courses to support Neurodivergent people.
Know the Way at Home is a resource for parents of Neurodivergent children from the moment they suspect they are Neurodiverse until they enter school.
Know the Way at School is a resource for parents, teachers, and educators to navigate the Neurodivergent academic journey from Kindergarten through college.
Know the Way at Work is a resource for employers, business owners, and HR representatives wanting to create a more inclusive and accommodating workplace for their Neurodivergent staff.
E.M.E.R.G.E. ND is for Neurodivergent people wanting to remove the mask, heal the trauma and grief, reach their goals, and navigate their Neurodiversity.
Each course is tailored to a different stage of the Neurodivergent experience. Whether you’re a parent seeking to support your child, an educator wanting a more inclusive classroom, an employer ready to create a more diverse workforce, or a Neurodiverse person wanting to be themselves, then we have a course for you.
Let’s build a bridge to a brighter future, together.